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Full text of "Rapid Population Growth Consequences And Policy Implications"

626                                                                              xvtt.riL>  ruruL/uiuiN   LrKUVVlH —II
community, about how one's life is to count, and how far its influence is to extend.
Sexuality is at once an expression of our individuality, and a gift that each of us receives from others, his parents most immediately, but also from the wider community. Indeed, it is a gift from the human species to the human species. We owe a debt of gratitude to these wellsprings of our unique genetic and social individuality for the very possibility of experiencing sexual pleasure, and for the considerable rewards of childbearing and child rearing.
As those who have been chosen to live, we incur an awesome but joyous obligation to see to it that these gifts of life—sexual expression, procreation, and child rearing—have a future. Our obligation to the larger community is particularly vital insofar as each of us has unique genetic endowments and unique talents to offer and to perpetuate. No one else can give to the species what we bring to it. Failure to reproduce is both an individual and a communal act that requires a special justification if it is to be morally responsible. Individual decisions to refrain from having children of one's own are presumably easier to justify in times of rapid population growth.
If these are the values guiding our reproductive decisions, the very dignity and identity of the person as a moral being is at stake in any decision to use compulsion in controlling reproductive behavior. There are those who believe that the dignity and autonomy associated with reproductive decisions is a human right provided for in the United States Constitution. As part of its successful effort to defeat the birth control laws of Connecticut in the Supreme Court, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America argued that these laws, by forcing couples to relinquish either their right to marital sex relations or their right to plan their families, constituted a deprivation of life and liberty without due process of law in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment (27). Earlier Supreme Court decisions were cited affirming the right "to marry, establish a home and bring up children" as among "those privileges essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men" under the Fourteenth Amendment (28-30). In a "Declaration on Population" presented at the United Nations in 1957, thirty nations, including the United States, affirmed their belief "that the opportunity to decide the number and spacing of children is a basic human right" and "that family planning, by assuring greater opportunity to each person, frees man to attain his individual dignity and reach his full potential."*
But it is precisely on this point that the buttle has been enjoined. Davis has directly challenged the right of any person to determine for himself how many children he shall have, because, in his view, the assertion of such a right conflicts with society's need to keep the number of children at sonic specified level (8). In this instance, Davis, like many others, sees a conflict between